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Psychosocial interventions for recurrent abdominal pain in childhood

Overview of attention for article published in Cochrane database of systematic reviews, January 2017
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  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (97th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (89th percentile)

Mentioned by

2 news outlets
2 blogs
80 tweeters
4 Facebook pages
1 Wikipedia page


46 Dimensions

Readers on

278 Mendeley
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Psychosocial interventions for recurrent abdominal pain in childhood
Published in
Cochrane database of systematic reviews, January 2017
DOI 10.1002/14651858.cd010971.pub2
Pubmed ID

Rebecca A Abbott, Alice E Martin, Tamsin V Newlove-Delgado, Alison Bethel, Joanna Thompson-Coon, Rebecca Whear, Stuart Logan


This review supersedes the original Cochrane review first published in 2008 (Huertas-Ceballos 2008).Between 4% and 25% of school-aged children complain of recurrent abdominal pain (RAP) severe enough to interfere with their daily activities. No organic cause for this pain can be found on physical examination or investigation for the majority of such children. Although many children are managed by reassurance and simple measures, a large range of psychosocial interventions involving cognitive and behavioural components have been recommended. To determine the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions for reducing pain in school-aged children with RAP. In June 2016 we searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, Embase, eight other databases, and two trials registers. We also searched the references of identified studies and relevant reviews. Randomised controlled trials comparing psychosocial therapies with usual care, active control, or wait-list control for children and adolescents (aged 5 to 18 years) with RAP or an abdominal pain-related functional gastrointestinal disorder defined by the Rome III criteria were eligible for inclusion. We used standard methodological procedures expected by Cochrane. Five review authors independently selected studies, assessed them for risk of bias, and extracted relevant data. We also assessed the quality of the evidence using the GRADE approach. This review includes 18 randomised controlled trials (14 new to this version), reported in 26 papers, involving 928 children and adolescents with RAP between the ages of 6 and 18 years. The interventions were classified into four types of psychosocial therapy: cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), hypnotherapy (including guided imagery), yoga, and written self-disclosure. The studies were carried out in the USA, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, and Brazil. The majority of the studies were small and short term; only two studies included more than 100 participants, and only five studies had follow-up assessments beyond six months. Small sample sizes and the degree of assessed risk of performance and detection bias in many studies led to the overall quality of the evidence being rated as low to very low for all outcomes.For CBT compared to control, we found evidence of treatment success postintervention (odds ratio (OR) 5.67, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.18 to 27.32; Z = 2.16; P = 0.03; 4 studies; 175 children; very low-quality evidence), but no evidence of treatment success at medium-term follow-up (OR 3.08, 95% CI 0.93 to 10.16; Z = 1.85; P = 0.06; 3 studies; 139 children; low-quality evidence) or long-term follow-up (OR 1.29, 95% CI 0.50 to 3.33; Z = 0.53; P = 0.60; 2 studies; 120 children; low-quality evidence). We found no evidence of effects of intervention on pain intensity scores measured postintervention (standardised mean difference (SMD) -0.33, 95% CI -0.74 to 0.08; 7 studies; 405 children; low-quality evidence), or at medium-term follow-up (SMD -0.32, 95% CI -0.85 to 0.20; 4 studies; 301 children; low-quality evidence).For hypnotherapy (including studies of guided imagery) compared to control, we found evidence of greater treatment success postintervention (OR 6.78, 95% CI 2.41 to 19.07; Z = 3.63; P = 0.0003; 4 studies; 146 children; low-quality evidence) as well as reductions in pain intensity (SMD -1.01, 95% CI -1.41 to -0.61; Z = 4.97; P < 0.00001; 4 studies; 146 children; low-quality evidence) and pain frequency (SMD -1.28, 95% CI -1.84 to -0.72; Z = 4.48; P < 0.00001; 4 studies; 146 children; low-quality evidence). The only study of long-term effect reported continued benefit of hypnotherapy compared to usual care after five years, with 68% reporting treatment success compared to 20% of controls (P = 0.005).For yoga therapy compared to control, we found no evidence of effectiveness on pain intensity reduction postintervention (SMD -0.31, 95% CI -0.67 to 0.05; Z = 1.69; P = 0.09; 3 studies; 122 children; low-quality evidence).The single study of written self-disclosure therapy reported no benefit for pain.There was no evidence of effect from the pooled analyses for any type of intervention on the secondary outcomes of school performance, social or psychological functioning, and quality of daily life.There were no adverse effects for any of the interventions reported. The data from trials to date provide some evidence for beneficial effects of CBT and hypnotherapy in reducing pain in the short term in children and adolescents presenting with RAP. There was no evidence for the effectiveness of yoga therapy or written self-disclosure therapy. There were insufficient data to explore effects of treatment by RAP subtype.Higher-quality, longer-duration trials are needed to fully investigate the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions. Identifying the active components of the interventions and establishing whether benefits are sustained in the long term are areas of priority. Future research studies would benefit from employing active control groups to help minimise potential bias from wait-list control designs and to help account for therapist and intervention time.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 80 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 278 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Unknown 278 100%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Master 57 21%
Student > Ph. D. Student 41 15%
Researcher 32 12%
Student > Bachelor 30 11%
Student > Doctoral Student 19 7%
Other 42 15%
Unknown 57 21%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Medicine and Dentistry 60 22%
Psychology 46 17%
Nursing and Health Professions 40 14%
Social Sciences 17 6%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 7 3%
Other 30 11%
Unknown 78 28%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 77. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 24 June 2020.
All research outputs
of 16,486,412 outputs
Outputs from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 11,514 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 391,284 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Cochrane database of systematic reviews
of 187 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 16,486,412 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 11,514 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 24.3. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 94% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 391,284 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 187 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 89% of its contemporaries.